This is the "Free Digitized Book Collections" page of the "Historical Archives & Free Digitized Book Collections" guide.
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Historical Archives & Free Digitized Book Collections  

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Free Digitized Book Collections Print Page


This is a list of some of the major (usually collaborative)book digitization projects. Many libraries, museums and other institutions are digitizing and making freely available the treasures in their collectons.   So in addition to the collaborative projects listed here,  it is worth investigating the Web sites of relevant libraries and museums to see what they might have to offer.

  • HathiTrust
    This is a collection of books digitized by major US research libraries. Although there is significant overlap with Google books, this site has a much more effective and sophisticated search interface. Like Google books, some of the scanned titles are not actually viewable. The titles in this collection (both the full view and restricted ones)are cataloged in Melvyl.
  • Europeana: Europe's Digital Library
    Direct access to several million digital objects: film,photos, paintings, sound recordings, maps, manuscripts, books,newspapers and archival papers.Selected from already digitized resources available in Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. French and German cultural institutions are particularly well-represented.
  • Gallica Bibliotheque Numerique
    Formerly Gallica Classique. One of the world's most advanced digital library collections, providing online access to millions of books, periodicals, images, videos, maps, sound files, manuscripts, and scores. Searchable in basic or advanced modes, and browsable by publication type. Originally an attempt to provide coverage of the Bibliotheque Nationale's vast holdings in French literature from the Middle Ages to the present, it now has digital access partnerships with a number of other major library collections substantially increasing its offerings. Includes links to other relevant sites.

  • The European Library
    This site allows you to search through the holdings of the National Libraries of European countries. You can limit your search easily by type of material, including digitized books, images,or exhibits. You can also select which countries' libraries you want to search.
  • CERL Portal [via the Consortium of European Research Libraries]
    "The CERL Portal provides access to distributed databases containing manuscripts materials, printed works, photographic material and other special materials. The focus lies on manuscripts materials, but the Heritage of the Printed Book Database (HPB) and the English Short-Title Catalogue can be included in the search as well." Some of the items listed here have been scanned and are available full-text from the owning libraries.


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